Should Authors Get Mixed Up in Politics?

From Danwei:

Danwei follows a debate about the current state of Chinese sparked by German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin’s most recent comments that contemporary Chinese authors have “sold-out.” And, prompted novelist Zhang Ping’s appointment as vice-governor of Shanxi Province, Danwei asks, do politics and writing mix?

What role should authors have in society? Wolfgang Kubin tells Oriental Outlook that contemporary Chinese writers have “sold out”; Chang Ping makes the case that writing is not incompatible with politics.

When Deutsche Welle interviewed Wolfgang Kubin in December 2006, the German Sinologist’s disparaging comments about contemporary Chinese literature touched off a storm of controversy in China. It was later revealed that some of his harsher remarks had been mis-translated, making him appear more dismissive than he really was; a slightly more nuanced critique appeared in a China Daily interview in April 2007

The current issue of Oriental Outlook magazine prints yet another interview with Kubin, in which he speaks highly of Eileen Chang, Lu Xun, and the early work of Ding Ling, but dismissively of most everyone else (including Göran Malmqvist, the only member of the Swedish Academy who knows Chinese).


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